130,000 police for Sunday polls

A total of 130,000 police will be deployed at polling stations nationwide to maintain order during Sunday's election, according to Chalerm Yubamrung, the director of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO).

Twenty-seven companies of soldiers would also be deployed to help police ensure that people who want to vote can do so, he said on Saturday.

Mr Chalerm, who is also the caretaker labour minister, said the CMPO would use its authority under the emergency decree to ensure a smooth election.

The vote, which is costing taxpayers 3.8 billion baht and will not produce enough MPs to convene a House sitting, is being boycotted by the opposition Democrat Party.

The anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has said it would not obstruct voting but some of its more radical followers disrupted many advance polls and forced their closure last Sunday.

Mr Chalerm said he was concerned about possible violent confrontations between anti-government protesters who might block some polling stations and people turning out to exercise their constitutional rights.

PDRC protesters in some southern provinces have been surrounding post offices in an attempt to prevent ballots from being delivered to polling stations. Mr Chalerm said it was the duty of the Election Commission to settle the problem.

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